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Zurich, Oct 17 (IANS) Four-time FIFA World Cup winners Italy will face Sweden in the European 2018 World Cup playoffs, as revealed by the highly-anticipated draw held here on Tuesday.

World Cup trophy

Sweden are one of the strongest contenders, having finished second behind France and ahead of the Netherlands in the group stages of the 2018 FIFA World Russia qualifiers.

Sweden football team

Sweden are also one of the highest scoring nations heading into the playoffs, boasting a total of 26 goals in the qualifying rounds.

Selecting the balls in the lottery-style draw for the World Cup playoffs, Spain legend Fernando Hierro revealed that Northern Ireland will face Switzerland, Croatia will play Greece and Denmark will take on the Republic of Ireland.

The first leg of the playoffs is to be held between November 9 and 11.

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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